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Brunch Party for 15 broke college grads. PLEASE HELP

I'm trying to plan a graduation party for my friend and am very out of my element. I am very fortunate to dine at places like Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Anissa and alike. I need serious help on suggestions on where to have a party for 15 semi-broke collage kids who will eat any decent food and get some drinks for cheap. They are not big drinkers and vary from very adventurous eaters to very picky eaters. I was thinking brunch would be cheaper than dinner. Someplace we can gather around the bar before we sit down to eat. Anywhere between Houston and the 60's east or west is preferable but all suggestions or advice is welcome. Thanks so much

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  1. I was going to suggest lunch at a place like Congee Village, rather than brunch, but their bar is small and might not be a great place for 15 people to hang out. While brunch could be cheaper than dinner, I think lunch can be cheaper than brunch.

    1. What about Otto? For a party your size they offer different levels of a prix fixe menu. Might work with your budget.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ttoommyy

        That's a really good thought because they have a full, albeit often quite crowded bar, and the food is good and fairly inexpensive.

        1. re: Pan

          And if they go on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, the bar area may not be that full (well, as compared to a weekend night at least).

        2. Would probably be helpful to know exactly how broke the college grads are. Any indication of costs per person, drinks, entree, apps would help.

          5 Replies
          1. re: RCC

            It's hard to guess but I'd say $40 pp would be the maximum.

            1. re: misnatalie

              If that's before tax and tip, you'll be fine at Otto. Have a look at their menu, though.

              1. re: Pan

                I am thinking of Essex now, $28 for 3 drinks and brunch. Has anyone ever been?

                1. re: misnatalie

                  I've been to Essex about 4 times for brunch. It's ok, the food is just alright and they are super strict on the drink limit which I find a bit annoying - not to mention they're small drinks. I've always kind of left unsatisfied.

                  What kind of brunch are you looking for? Boozy or more food focused?

                  My favorite place is Parlor Steakhouse on 90th and 3rd. $27 for an entree and 5 drinks - mamosa, blood mary or rose belini. Just note, they tell you 5 drinks but I've never been cut off and I've sat around with friends for about 4 hours continuing to drink. The food is also really really good. Don't be turned off by the fancy-ish look, brunch is super casual here.

                  It's a bit high up but don't let that deter you, well worth it.

                  1. re: Xirus

                    We have some non drinkers and some big drinkers so I'd say food is more important. Is Parlor Steakhouse good for groups, we might be as many as 20

          2. Le Pain Quotidien around 65th & Broadway specializes in healthy foods with a bent on decadent bakery goods. (but no bar)
            For that, you could go to the corner and imbibe with some toasts at trendy and sexy Bar Boulud.
            (Problem with that is, you'll want to stay there but your pocketbook won't like it!)

            1 Reply
            1. re: arepo

              Le Pain Quotidien is a chain, and it's merely OK, not great at all.

            2. I actually loved brunch at flea market cafe in east village. Their bread was amazing and the food wasn't bad at all.

              http://www.fleamarketcafe.com/brunch-...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Monica

                Interesting. Never heard of, nor seen, this place before.
                Btw, the website says they'll reopen in sometime in February.